How to Use Your Personal Appearance As Part of Your Business Branding or a Marketing Tool

You've spent a ton of money on your marketing materials-your brochures, business cards, website. You want them to be just right. You fuss over every detail.

You put all your energy into your products or services including the planning, the design, the execution, the packaging.

And then, the big day comes. You're ready to present them to the public, and you show up in unbecoming attire. Your shoes are kind of scruffy. You haven't changed your hairstyle in over a decade. Or your hairstyle is up-to-date, but pretty far out there. You're not wearing any makeup, or you're wearing too much. Your fingernails are ragged from chewing on them.

Your product is ready to be presented, but you aren't.

Big mistake! In fact, your personal image may be your most important presentation to the public. If you don't look the part, you won't have the credibility you need to get the client or the sale.

Here are some things to think about before you go public:

1) Know what looks good on you. If you've gotten feedback that you might need some work in this area, spend some time figuring it out. Or get help. Does blue-red or orange-red look more flattering on you? What about paisley vs. stripes? Are pleated pants, or flat front better for your body type? Do you know which jacket length is your best bet? The idea is to create a harmonious relationship between yourself and what you wear. A discordant relationship screeches just like fingernails on a blackboard.

2) Be appropriate. Formal business wear isn't always required, but, if you're not sure what business casual dress is, find out. Business casual usually calls for at least a collar on your shirt, and is best in a woven fabric (what a dress shirt is made of) as opposed to a knit (what a t-shirt is made of), and something a step or two above jeans. Dress slacks are better than more casual khaki slacks. Leather shoes surpass the running variety.

3) Be neat and well-groomed. This seems obvious to me, but from what I've observed in public, it isn't obvious to everyone. So here are the basics. Keep a somewhat controlled hairstyle for work. No bed heads. No spiky hair styles or magenta streaks. No greasy locks. Keep the makeup moderate. Trim the nails and shaggy eyebrows. Remove the piercings and cover the tattoos. Keep your belly button covered too. Brush your teeth. Don't spare the deodorant. Polish your shoes, and don't wear them with rundown heels. Have clean, wrinkle-free clothes ready to go at all times. No seams coming undone. No missing buttons. No spots. No holes. No excuses.

Being oblivious of how you appear to others can affect your bottom line.

Think nobody will notice if you're slightly sloppy? Convinced it won't matter if you haven't paid attention to detail? Don't kid yourself. People DO notice the small things. And if you seem careless about your appearance, your clients can easily believe you'll be careless in dealing with them, too.

So plan, design, and package yourself as well as you have your products. Otherwise, all that effort you put into your business may have been in vain.

What Businesses Are Thriving by Using Corporate Clothing?

We have all seen them. They are on the internet, splashed across the front page of the newspaper, and on every television channel. They are big companies who have made a name for themselves in ways largely unparalleled by others.

But how did they do this?

Yes, a great plan, solid marketing, and plenty of hard work had a lot to do with it. However, there is one thing all of these companies also have in common, and it is not their ad campaigns. They all dress for success and use corporate clothing to their advantage.

Corporate Clothing and Big Name Companies

It may be surprising to think that the same kind of clothing your small company uses has affected such big name corporations in such a strong way, but consider this: Would any of these businesses be taken quite as seriously if their top executives walked into a meeting wearing outdated or ill-fitting attire? The truth is, impressions are a key to success. If clients and customers "see" your company as successful, they are more likely to develop trust. It's part of business psychology and it works.

Here are a few top companies that are known for looking great in their corporate wear.

  • IBM - This company, which was named the twelfth most admired company by Fortune magazine is a top technology and consulting firm, located in New York. Along with computer hardware and software, IBM sells class. Its employees, which since the 1990s have only been required to dress in business casual attire, still put on a suit and tie almost every time they step into a meeting with a client. Why? Because they dress for success, and they know that their clients want to work with professional individuals who are able to represent the IBM name in the best light.

  • Morgan Stanley - This well-known financial services firm is located in New York City. For most of its paid employees, corporate clothing is a must. Many of their employees work face to face with customers every single day, and without the appropriate attire, those clients might not feel as if they could trust the company with their hard earned cash.

  • Fannie Mae - The Federal National Mortgage Foundation, also known as Fannie Mae, changed its dress policies at the same time as IBM. While it only requires business casual dress from its employees now, the reality of the professional image encourages many executives and mainstream employees to dress in better business attire. This company's reputation goes a long way, but for clients who need help finding a way to obtain a home of their own, the sophisticated appearance of an employee can mean a lot. It can show a client the employee knows exactly what he or she is doing.

  • JP Morgan - A leading financial service firm with a global reach, this company requires their employees who work with clients daily to wear formal business attire. These employees must appear to be professional and able to handle their client's financial matters. This image, along with other successes, has made this company one of the most trusted names in the financial world.

The best big name companies know how to use corporate clothing to their advantage. The next time you are tempted to wear your chinos and a dress shirt to a business meeting, keep that in mind.

Business Dress Code For Men

Business dress code, Smart Casual, Business Casual, Dress down. We are often requested to dress to a certain dress code at work but it's not always clearly defined and can leave us somewhat confused. So let's unravel the one dress code that gives us the biggest headache!

As an Image Consultant, I am frequently asked for advice on the Business Casual dress code. Many men are comfortable in the formal (Business Dress) dress code where it is clear that a suit, shirt & tie are required. Similarly, a charity dress down day provides them with no real challenges as all the boundaries have been removed for that day.

However, when it comes to Business Casual, so many find it challenging to put this look together. I can tell you that Business Casual means less formal than Business Dress yet must still be appropriate for the business environment. It does not mean untidy or scruffy or casual.

So here are some tips on how to achieve an acceptable Business Casual look;

Ensure your clothes are complimentary for your colouring and your build. They must also be current and appropriate for your working environment. Adhering to all of these rules will help you become a well dressed man.

You must be well groomed. Clean shaven with a neat and tidy haircut is essential. Your finger nails must be of a reasonable length and clean. (maybe sounds crazy but you'd be surprised at the how many men have dirty finger nails!)

Maintenance of your clothes is highly important. If you don't like using an iron on your shirts, use a Dry Cleaning service on them instead. You must ensure you change your clothes and shoes daily as they need to be freshened and rested.

Make sure you are pleasant to be around; good personal hygiene is paramount.

So let's put this into practice; here are some tips on how to create acceptable Business Casual outfits;

- you can do away with the formal suit and opt for a smart jacket and trousers
- a soft collared shirt is acceptable and a tie is optional
- a suit teamed with a smart t-shirt or polo shirt is acceptable
- alternatively, a smart shirt and tie with trousers and no jacket is also acceptable for Business Casual
- you must always wear smart shoes, trainer style footwear and sandals are not acceptable

So now you have all the rules and best tips for achieving your Business Casual look. If you would like to find out more, visit your local Style & Image Consultant.

A Home Based Cake Decorating Business - Customer Service - Part 3

A lot of business procedure is just good manners and plain common sense, but it can be very easy to overlook these basics if you do not carefully consider them as an important part of your business planning right from the start. The personal nature of the service you are providing with your cake decorating business makes it extremely important that you take great care over this part of your enterprise.

Be Punctual Punctuality is important in all areas of life, not just business. If you arrive late for a meeting or appointment, you are disrespecting the other person's time and telling them that you don't care enough about them to arrive when you say you will. Being on time is easy, but being late is an easy way to offend and annoy people. In a business like cake decorating where it is important to engender confidence in your clients that you can deliver what you promise, punctuality is fundamental, and it is one of the first things people will judge you on. Remember that for your first consultation with a prospective client you do not have the finished cake to show them - they have to trust that you are able to deliver it at the agreed time. This is an enormous amount of trust to ask a stranger for, so prove that you are trustworthy by always being on time (or slightly early).

Be specific Don't say "sometime on Wednesday". Say "10 o"clock on Wednesday morning", and stick to it. Don't just promise someone a spectacular cake, tell them exactly what will be on it to make it spectacular. If you are using sugar roses, specify the colour, the size etc. If you appear too casual when making arrangements with a client, it will lead to the assumption that you are also fairly casual about the whole transaction. This will not inspire confidence in a potential client, and it won't inspire them to contract you.

Avoid mistakes before they happen Everyone makes mistakes, it is expected occasionally and they can be forgiven, but it is how you respond to them that people will remember. Timely and efficient response to problems is what counts. Of course, you cannot keep making the same mistake - if you do, you might as well have not bothered fixing it in the first place. This is true in most situations, but - to put it bluntly - there simply is no room for mistakes in the cake decorating business. A retail operation can afford to make the occasional mistake when they are selling a large number of mass produced items - they can replace faulty goods immediately from off the shelf -* but you can't do this. This is a business dealing with one off products designed to individual requirements. It is labour intensive and takes several days to create the product. If it is discovered faulty on the wedding day, or at the birthday party, it cannot be fixed with an immediate replacement.

So - practise your skills. Schedule your working time so that you do not have to rush, and so you have time to make repairs if necessary. Take extreme care with everything you do, especially when it comes to the delivery and installation of your cake.

Have a policy in place to deal with complaints and problems. You need to know your position in advance, for instance if a problem can be repaired or replaced, or if it may require a partial or full refund. At what point do you stand your ground and not fix a problem? Are you available to fix a cake damaged by a drunken dancer at the wedding? This is not a hypothetical situation - just check out You Tube to see how many wedding cakes are damaged carelessly -but you need to be clear in your own mind before these situations arise. (The answer to this one is yes you should be - but be careful not to admit liability, and also to be clear that you will repair to the best of your abilities, but you cannot work miracles). People will especially appreciate you responding to emergencies that are not of your making. This is part of good customer service, even if it is a little inconvenient for you.

All the points covered in this article are just a natural part of the transaction - things you should do anyway. In part 4 of this series, I shall look at the concept of 'going the extra mile' for your clients, as a vital part of good business practice.

Copyright © Business casual service. All Rights Reserved.
Blogger Template designed by Big Homes.